UF notebook: Jackson may get shot to start

Florida linebacker Rayshad Jackson. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

With starting middle linebacker David Reese is questionable for Saturday’s game against Charleston Southern due to an ankle injury, junior Rayshad Jackson is preparing to possibly make his first start on the Florida defense.

“I’m very excited right now,” Jackson said. “I just want to show all those people that I can play.

In his first two seasons, Jackson mainly just played on special teams, but he’s advanced beyond that with a strong spring and preseason camp.

Even if Reese is able to go Saturday night, Jackson is in the playing rotation at linebacker and expected to get significant reps.

“I improved on my speed, improved on my tackling and improved as a football player,” Jackson said of his rise to potential starter.

Jackson said the defense as a whole is jacked up about the start of the season.

“We can’t wait to get on the field to show the relentless effort we put in during the offseason,” he said.

Taylor’s return

Junior Jeawon Taylor, who underwent shoulder surgery last November and was held out of contact in the spring, is back to 100 percent and is starting Saturday’s game at safety.

“It feels great to be back,” he said. “I feel like I could have hit in the spring, but I’m just grateful to be here. All glory to God.”

Taylor really started coming on the second half of last season, starting five of the final six games before getting hurt in the UAB game.

He said he’s a better player now than he was last fall.

“I feel like I can make more plays than last year,” Taylor said. “I’ve gotten bigger, stronger, faster. I have a lot more endurance.”

Mr. Two Bits

Former UF wide receiver Cris Collinsworth (1977-80), an analyst for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” will be the honorary “Mr. Two Bits” for Saturday’s opener against Charleston Southern.



  1. Chris “Cadillac” Collinsworth to be honorary Mr. Two Bits! Game week keeps getting better! Can’t wait to see this! Still remember that pass against Rice….99 yard touchdown pass to Gaffney! GO GATORS!

  2. imo no need to risk injury playing some of the injured guys, perhaps a few series to get to near game speed. for whatever faults the 70s had in terms of gator history, it produced the best receivers of any decade in UF history, starting with wes chandler, nat moore, collinsworth, plus some other good pros. there have been some other greats like carlos alvarez and percy harvin, and a favorite of mine, Richard trapp, but maybe a new golden era at wr can begin this week.

  3. Go Gators, Go Dodgers. Go Dolphins! Graduate of UF. Watched Dodgers as a kid in Dodgertown, (spring training Vero Beach) and unfortunately a Dolphin fan. College sports are more exciting than the pros.

    • I totally agree Doug. When I was younger I loved the NFL but as I get older the college game just excites me more. The pageantry, the passion, the comaraderie of alumnus, the sounds (band) and kids who play because they just absolutely love the game.

      I might have watched a total of one game of my favorite NFL team last season but watched every second of Gator football. Even when watching the Gators gave me physical pain they were so horrible to watch I did. There’s no way I’d ever do that for a NFL team which is what makes college football so much better…IMHO.

      • Same here Dallas. Too much drama and bickering in the NFL. College football has always been my number 1. First Gator game FL-ga 1965. Been a serious Gator fan ever since. First game my wife and I saw together was FL-Ga Tech during the 0-10-1 season. So we’ve seen the highs and lows. Need a good year out of the Gators this year since we live in middle Ga. They’ve already made their hotel arrangements for the NC game. We should be pretty good if we can get consistent play out of the QB and OL. Ready for the kickoff! GO GATORS!!!!!

  4. I’m an old toad, too. First college game was Florida vs Georgia Tech in Atlanta 1958, second was Gators’ win over Tech, 18/17, at Florida Field 1960, Ray Graves’ debut. Loved the Gstors ever since. Wear something blue virtually every day. UF grad, all Gator. Atlanta Braves fan.

    Can’t stand the anticipation for Saturday. New era, much better days ahead. All of us here seem old enough to remember what “in all kind of weather we’ll all stick together” means. GO GATORS!!!

    • You got me beat, my first was the Georgia-Florida game in 1960. But there’s actually a Gator on here who started in 1948, and of course there’s Leland who started in 1953, if I recall correctly, once he was back from Korea. Old Gators are like fine wine, if you ask me.

  5. I can’t say for sure my first Gator game but it was during the Woodruff era. The first one might have been when Miss America was at the haldtime show. She was from Mississippi and they had her as part of their halftime show. So, we were either playing Miss. St. or Ole Miss. Don’t remember. That was ’54, ’55. or ’56. I liked pro ball back then because the Gators were never on TV (not like it is today). Loved watching Johnny U. hook up with Ray Berry, so I became a Baltimore Colts fan. Later on, it was all Gators. Loved watching Jimmy Dunn run. I was at the ’58 Florida-Georgia game where Bobby Joe Green kicked an 80 yard punt. Unbelievable.

  6. I grew up a Gator. My dad worked as a maintenance guy on the campus. I used to go to all of the sporting events, almost all of them were free except football and even those were reasonably priced. Wayne Peace is the first QB that I can really remember watching play. Go Gators!

  7. My pops was in grad school when Nat Moore was there….grew up a fan before attending. Cris Collinsworth was our hero growing up in Central Fla. Dad always talked about Wes Chandler from New Smyrna Beach and I remember his at UF…stud in a wishbone offense. Terry LeCount, The Gaffneys, Willie Wilder…on up to the 80s and Wayne Peace & Bob Hewko, Wilber Marshall, Tyrone Young, Nattiel, Frankie Neal, Lorenzo Hampton, Neal Anderson, John L Williams, Zimmerman, Lomas Brown, Tony Lilly, Roger Sibbald, Kerwin Bell, on & on…

    1984 team was the best in the nation by years end…no question.

  8. If all of you golden oldies on here want to reminisce about the past, do so on Facebook. Stick to commenting on the article at hand. Being a gator fan since 1948 doesn’t mean you bleed orange and blue more than me.

    • Dude none of us gator-geezers are saying we’re more ardent gator fans than younger fans, just that it’s great to be a gator, no matter how long you’ve been a fan. Besides we need younger fans to carry the tradition into the future.

    • Joe, how in the world you can take umbrage at a few old timers briefly remembering Gator years gone by is a mystery to me. Are you really a Gator? And to tell you the truth, where did you get the authority to tell anyone on here where to reminisce or what to stick to? I’d tell you where to shove that attitude, buddy rho, but decency prohibits it.

  9. No TV back in the 60’s or 70’s, but we had Otis golden voice to listen in on the radio with. I can recall closing my eyes and listening to the HBC leading the team on a drive down the field and it was almost as good as being there. Radio broadcast is still good, but somewhat of a lost art with the digital TV age we now live in. Not complaining, just saying that when there was nothing BUT radio, the good ones had a way of making you feel like you were there watching it live. These youngsters have no idea of what being a gator fan was like back in the day, SO close every year, but could never quite get there ( or if we did, it was taken away by the jealous GA / TENN AD’s, see 1984) until our very own golden son came home in 90 and lead us into the promised land. We have been back in the wilderness long enough since the Urb left, here’s to CDM bringing us back to where we rightfully belong at the top of the SEC mountain.